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Published: Tuesday November 19, 2013

BALTIMORE—Hailed by critics as “Upbeat and affirmative, witty and intelligent, with a respect for the contradictions in all people and a strong sense of social and political responsibility,” To Be Young, Gifted and Black: A Portrait of Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words will continue the 2013-14 Coppin State University Revelation Theatre Season. Performances are scheduled November 21-24, 2013 on the Coppin campus in the Theatre Lab of the Grace Jacobs Building.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black is a dramatic collage woven together from Hansberry’s produced and unproduced works including A Raisin in the Sun, Les Blancs and other plays, as well as letters, speeches and articles, compiled and adapted by her late husband, Robert Nemiroff. A series of free-flowing chronological scenes follow Hansberry from her grade-school days in Chicago to the height of her career, to her persistence to be heard even when, at the age of 34, she was dying of cancer.

To Be Young, Gifted and Black, produced by Harry Belafonte and Robert Nemiroff, was first presented January 2, 1969, Off- Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. The play became the longest-running Off-Broadway drama of the year.

Lorraine Hansberry, at age 29, had become the youngest American, the fifth woman and the first African American playwright to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for the Best Play of the year for her now-classic play, A Raisin in the Sun. Though she only lived from 1930 to 1965, she has been called the mother of the modern black theatre movement, because of the enormous impact her work has had on the many black theatre artists who followed her.

Coppin’s production of To Be Young, Gifted and Black is directed by Willie O. Jordan, who joined the faculty this year and is making his Coppin directorial debut. Garey A. Hyatt continues as producer, along with Allan Sean Weeks as scenic and lighting designer, Bresean Jenkins as costume designer/make-up artist, James A. Brown as technical director and James M. Grant as acting coach.

Curtain times for To Be Young, Gifted and Black are 8:00 p.m. from Thursday, November 21, through Saturday, November 23 and 3:00 p.m. on November 24. General admission tickets are $15.00; for seniors and non-Coppin students, they are $10.00, and they are just $5.00 for Coppin students with IDs.

For more information, please call Visual and Performing Arts at Coppin at (410) 951-3366.


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